Sponsoring a Kiva Fellow

Discussion in 'Kiva | Loans That Change Lives' started by canucklehead, Dec 19, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    The latest Kiva Fellows have been selected and I believe their placements have also been made.
    The Fellows serve an important role working with the Field Partners to select worthy loan candidates that meet Kiva's stringent criteria and the mandate of microloans (for which they undergo training at Kiva prior to their field placement).

    As part of their obligation, the Fellows must be able to raise sufficient funds to pay for their travel and 4-month term as a Fellow. Many Fellows will privately fundraise, while others will post on Indiegogo.com in hopes that others will support their endeavor.

    While I know that we are focused on getting as many loans out as possible, donations to Kiva and Fellows is another way to support this great organization.

    In the past, Flyertalk helped sponsor a Kiva fellow, and I understand some of the members of the Milepoint team were instrumental in giblet's fund-raising.

    I would like to recreate the magic of the generosity by helping this round of fellows, and possibly even the next one which will be around the time of the Do. One Kiva Fellow in this round is well-known to those who read the interview with Randy Petersen in September as she was the one who conducted the interview. Devon has been a volunteer with Kiva for the last year while she has been working on her Masters degree. As part of her volunteer time at Kiva, she has also been working with Chelsa to provide speakers for the Kiva Do in March AND she is also a member of our Kiva team (pg 1 row 15, middle of panel). Her assistance on the Do has been one of the reasons I am confident we will have a content-rich program!

    Devon has now been selected as a Kiva fellow and will be sent to Mombasa Kenya for four months (give or take a few days on either end) beginning in Feb.

    So, I would love if Milepoint could throw out some ideas to assist Devon (and others) make their Field placements a great success. I will ask Devon to post in her own words if we can build a critical mass to support her Fellowship. I would also encourage if people would like to assist other Kiva Fellows to go to Indiegogo.com (at present, there is one fellow from the current round) and I can also encourage them to post here.
     
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  2. nime01
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    nime01 Gold Member

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  3. D.Fisher

    D.Fisher Silver Member

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    Hello Everyone,

    First I would like to say thank you to "Canucklehead" for supporting the work of the Kiva Fellows and suggesting future support for the upcoming KF17 Class. It is such a unique opportunity to serve the entrepreneurs in the field and I feel humbled to be part of such a valuable service as I join the next class of Fellows and prepare to travel to Mombasa, Kenya.

    Some of you may have heard from me in the past, as I post to Kiva's lending team message boards on occasion to inform lenders on updates and events from Kiva's Community Outreach Team. I have been an intern at Kiva since March 2011 while simultaneously working towards my Masters Degree in International Studies from the University of San Francisco. I'm happy to inform you that graduation was two weeks ago and I am preparing to embark on the next chapter of my life, which begins with a Kiva Fellowship in Mombasa, Kenya beginning February 10, 2012. I decided to apply for the Fellowship because it felt like the next crucial step in my commitment to sustainable international development. I am excited to apply my previous work experience and my extensive microfinance research and academic work to support the entrepreneurial spirit of people living in developing countries.

    Prior to moving to San Francisco, I worked at Oikocredit USA, a microfinance organization in Washington DC that provides credit to trade cooperatives, fair trade organizations and SMEs in over 70 countries worldwide. I decided to continue my education and enter graduate school at USF because I was eager to learn more about international development and systemic issues that plague the poor around the world. Upon returning from the Fellowship I hope to continue to work in the Social Business sector where business models are created to best serve humanity's pressing needs.

    I am very excited to work at Milango, which is a new MFI that has quickly grown over the last 2 years. Milango has spread up the coast of Kenya, and has a branch office as far up as Malindi. They are looking to expand inland, and a new branch office should be opening soon. There have been some rumors about spreading into Nairobi's ultra-competitive microfinance market but that will likely be a long term initiative. Milango offers a range of different products and is doing some innovative things. They have a health insurance product, a life insurance product, and sell solar lighting systems to their clients.

    Here is Milango's Partner page on the Kiva website.


    Daniel Jung is the fellow presently working at Milango. He has had a wonderful experience working there and has said that the management and staff are extremely enthusiastic about the the partnership with Kiva. He has been working on the design of the pilot program and has begun to implement the program and move it into an active stage. This is where I will be taking over for Daniel and will be making the transition from pilot to active stage of my top priorities.

    As Canucklehead mentioned, each Fellow is responsible for funding their 4-month Fellowship. I have heard from a few former fellows that the total amount of a typical field experience is about $5000, including the airfare, which is often the largest component of the cost. I have looked at round-trip airfare from San Francisco to Nairobi, and most flights seem to come to about $1800. Once I arrive in Mombasa, my overhead costs will be minimal and manageable, therefore, it is only for the roundtrip flight to Kenya for which I am fundraising. This is where I am asking for your support. A fund for miles would be of critical importance to helping me get into the field and start building my new relationship with Milango and the entrepreneurs they serve. It will also allow me to dedicate my resources to living expenses and transportation within Mombasa.

    Thank you for taking the time to read about my forthcoming work that I am so excited to undertake. Again, I am very proud to have this opportunity to be carry out the work of an organization such as Kiva and so appreciative of the enthusiastic support of the MilePoint lending Team.


    Please contact me if you have any questions at all! My email is Devon.Fisher@fellows.kiva.org.

    Warmly,
    Devon
     
  4. Stephen
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    Stephen Gold Member

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    I think those among us here, could cover your airfare without a doubt,it is our specialty!
     
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  5. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Wonderful Devon!
    It's great to hear that you will be going to Kenya. Sorry, we won't get to meet you in SF in March.
    Hopefully we can come up with a strategy to get you to Nairobi on miles.
    Sounds like a great project for our team to undertake.
     
  6. Stephen
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    Stephen Gold Member

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    So we can't wait till KivaDO to take this up, how do we go about it, does Kiva accept designated donations,or does it have to go to the 'Fellow' themselves or what?
     
  7. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    I am checking the logistics of having Devon Skype in for the Do and perhaps even present on her Fellowship. She will have been at Kenya for a month at that time and can report on Milango. I am quite interested in what they are doing on the solar lighting concepts.

    Devon is checking in on this and will report back re: donations and how they are handled. I have also asked her to email giblet to see how FT arranged her sponsorship.

    As Devon's placement begins in Feb, if we are to donate miles we will need to raise the funds/miles before that time (at least one-way).

    Going forward, it would be great to assist her further at the Do, or helping another fellow. Of course, this is a Team effort and we can discuss this at the Do!
     
  8. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    The question in my mind is there anyway a lot of us could donate miles? She probably needs 100K+ miles, but it would be nice if there was some way for us to donate 10K each or some other number of miles less than 100K.
     
  9. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    Excellent question and point m&s. At present, Kiva does not have a program to donate miles to (or via an airline as relief charities like MSF/DWB and Red Cross have with most major airlines). This is something I hope we can help them with going forward. I also asked Randy if there was anyway he could assist with regards to having individuals donate smaller amounts of miles into one reward ticket, and let me just say this --- [​IMG] !

    So, in addition to the airfare, which is often the biggest challenge for the Fellow, the on-site living expenses, while relatively low, are still a concern and I would hope the Milepoint team could continue to help. Randy will be setting up a PayPal account for donations and we will provide a link as soon as it is live! For the mileage advocates (ok, all of us), you will be allowed to use your favorite credit card to donate with and accumulate miles as you donate.

    When giblet was sponsored they set a goal of $3500, with over 500 members, if we each donated $7, we would reach that goal! :)
     
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  10. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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  11. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    Yes IndieGogo does, but our hope and plan is to cut through the 7-12% fees that comes out of money raised there. That's significant. Doing it all in-house, 100% of any monies raised for our Fellow goes to the Fellow - milepoint is picking up the exchange fees for credit card use.
    As for SFO-NBO: 80,000 miles.
     
  12. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Ah, I had no idea the IndieGogo charges that much! Thanks for your offer.

    If her ticket can be booked as two one ways from two accounts, then I will donate 40,000 miles if someone else will donate the other 40,000 miles. I have miles in all 3 alliances.
    But I have no experience with booking international award tickets, so someone else would need to guide the process.
    Then others can donate $$ for the fees and other expenses.
    Anyone else willing to donate 40,000 miles?
     
  13. Stephen
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    Stephen Gold Member

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    Let us know when the 'donation' means and place starts. I am in.
     
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  14. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    Thank you Stephen and all the supporters.

    We will be setting up a PayPal account for cash donations (or credit card to get your points). Devon is away this week and when she returns on Tuesday, we will hopefully have an account set up for contributions. Once it is set, I will post the link here and also on the Milepoint Message board on Kiva.

    Thanks to everyone and have a Happy New Year!
     
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  15. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    GOOD NEWS
    I'm happy to report that Devon is now fully ticketed from San Francisco to Nairobi and return for her work as a Kiva Fellow. Milepoint's founders have donated fully the amount of miles necessary, and as well, co-founder Gary Leff stepped in and paid all taxes and even purchased an upgrade to E+ seating for the United part of her travels across the pond. In true frequent flyer fashion, Devon will be sampling United / Brussels Airlines / SWISS along this journey.

    We wish her well and expect to hear many fascinating reports back to the Kiva Lending Team here on Milepoint.

    [as noted, shortly we will begin fundraising general expenses for Devon during her Kiva Fellow assignment in Kenya.]
     
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  16. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Wonderful! Thanks for your generousity!
     
  17. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    Thanks to the MP founders for this very generous initiative! I am sure Devon is delighted and I have my credit card ready for when the donation site is open! :)
     
  18. D.Fisher

    D.Fisher Silver Member

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    Wow you Milepoint-ers move quickly! I don't know how to fully express my gratitude for your generosity!! :)

    I apologize for responding so late - I have been out of town and have had limited Internet access until now.

    I have been in touch with Randy and Canucklehead about travel details and everything is moving forward beautifully. Thank you all again! Please let me know if there is anything I can help with.

    As I approach the KFP training (Jan 23-27) I am both wrapping up my internship with the Community Outreach Team, training Rachael, the new Lender Communication Intern, and learning everything I can about Milango and my new home- Mombasa. In my spare time, I am also taking the UNCDF Online Microfinance Course, which is required from all Fellows. Somewhere in between I am spending quality time with my family and friends before I take embark on this unbelievable opportunity.

    So... who is up for a visit to Kenya to see a Fellow at work?! :)

    Cheers!
    Devon
     
  19. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    Hmm have to admit Kenya is not on my wishlist so I won't be joining you.

    However, I am pleased to see that Milepointers have been so generous in helping out.

    Please keep us updated as to what you are doing as it is so important that people like yourself care enough to try and make a difference in the world.
     
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  20. nime01
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    nime01 Gold Member

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    It is good to see that the Milepoint team can help in other ways than just lending! Makes me very proud to be a part of it, and I hope we also can do it for other fellows in the future.

    PS Devon, thank you very much for the nice calendar!
     
  21. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Count me in for contributions too.

    Devon, you're lucky to be going to that part of Kenya. I spent several years along that coast between Mombasa, going North as far as Eritrea and Djibouti, and across the sea in the Southern part of Yemen. A number of the leaders of Milango have experience in Darfur, I read in the various documents about them. I hope they do not go to Nairobi, but stay along the coast. That area has had some horrible challenges, but it also has lots of wonderful people and a resilience and optimism that are thrilling.

    I wish I could go there too, it's been a long time since I was last there, but helping to sponsor you is the next best thing!

    Good luck Devon!
     
  22. IDGflygirl
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    IDGflygirl Gold Member

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    I would like to support the cause, as well!:)
     
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  23. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    Hi Folks

    Sorry about the delay. Donations can be made by sending money to the PayPal account Randy has set up for her - please see this thread for the link

    We will keep track of contributions and keep the team informed.

     
  24. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Thanks canucklehead,

    My contribution was just sent off to her.
     
  25. nime01
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    nime01 Gold Member

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